In 2011, the animated film “Rio” was released in theaters and brought to light a problem that many had been ignoring for a long time: the devastating crisis of bird extinction around the world, focusing on a specific bird, the macaw. blue. And it is that in 2018, this species was declared extinct in the wild and its survival seems to hang by a thread.
In this article we will talk about their current conservation status and answer the question of whether Blue Macaws are really in danger of extinction.
Let’s meet the blue macaw
The first thing to clarify when talking about the blue macaw is that its name does not refer to a specific bird species. Contrary to what most people think, the term refers to four different species. The species commonly included in the term belong to the Psittacidae family, and all have a characteristic blue plumage.
The Psittacidae family is one of the three families of parrots and includes more than 160 species of macaws and parakeets. There are four species of Blue Macaws in two different genera: Anodorhynchus and Cyanopsitta.
Despite belonging to different genera, the four species have several things in common, apart from the exotic blue plumage. In terms of size, behavior, and appearance, males and females are very similar. In addition, they all have a strong beak to crush the seeds they feed on. Finally, they all have prehensile legs that allow them to grasp fruits, branches, and other objects.
Members of the Psittacidae family are found in both Africa and South America, but the blue species are only found in Brazil.
Is the blue macaw extinct?
In 2018, the news that the Spix’s Macaw had been declared extinct in the wild was widely discussed on social media. The survival of this species seemed far from promising at the time, with fewer than 100 specimens still alive and in captivity.
Despite all the odds, the bird population has increased more than anticipated. Thanks to the efforts of various organizations around the world, the Spix’s Macaw still has a chance of survival.
The first step before returning this species to the wild was to ensure a sufficiently large and healthy population with genetic diversity. This is not an easy task to accomplish, especially when few specimens remain.
The next step was to find a suitable home for the birds. The site had to offer optimal conditions for birds and had to be protected from human influences.
The last step was to sensitize the local population on this issue. It is the only effective way to ensure a positive coexistence between humans and the Spix’s Macaw.
Currently, several educational actions are being carried out in the vicinity of the planned reintroduction area. Its objective is to make residents aware of the importance of this blue bird for their region and its environment.
The future of the blue macaw is unknown, and there is still a long way to go before it can be declared non-threatened. Meanwhile, his status remains listed as critically endangered.
Why is the blue macaw critically endangered?
The four species that are currently known as blue macaws are in danger of extinction. However, this crisis does not affect only the blue macaw, but the entire Psittacidae family. Nearly half of all parrot species are endangered and nearly 25% of species are critically endangered.
The main reasons for this gradual disappearance of the species are several. These include:
- Growth of cities.
- Deforestation of the jungles and forests inhabited by the blue macaw.
- Climate change.
- Illegal traffic to be sold as pets.
- Using their feathers to make decorations.
- Low birth rate of the species.
- Lack of adequate food sources for birds.
- Infiltration of other animal species in the habitat.